Obesity is characterized by accumulation of adipose tissue and is one the most important risk factors in the development of insulin resistance. Carbon monoxide–releasing (CO-releasing) molecules (CO-RMs) have been reported to improve the metabolic profile of obese mice, but the underlying mechanism remains poorly defined. Here, we show that oral administration of CORM-401 to obese mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD) resulted in a significant reduction in body weight gain, accompanied by a marked improvement in glucose homeostasis. We further unmasked an action we believe to be novel, by which CO accumulates in visceral adipose tissue and uncouples mitochondrial respiration in adipocytes, ultimately leading to a concomitant switch toward glycolysis. This was accompanied by enhanced systemic and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity, as indicated by a lower blood glucose and increased Akt phosphorylation. Our findings indicate that the transient uncoupling activity of CO elicited by repetitive administration of CORM-401 is associated with lower weight gain and increased insulin sensitivity during HFD. Thus, prototypic compounds that release CO could be investigated for developing promising insulin-sensitizing agents.
Laura Braud, Maria Pini, Lucie Muchova, Sylvie Manin, Hiroaki Kitagishi, Daigo Sawaki, Gabor Czibik, Julien Ternacle, Geneviève Derumeaux, Roberta Foresti, Roberto Motterlini
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is an autosomal dominant or digenic disorder linked to derepression of the toxic DUX4 gene in muscle. There is currently no pharmacological treatment. The emergence of DUX4 enabled development of cell and animal models that could be used for basic and translational research. Since DUX4 is toxic, animal model development has been challenging, but progress has been made, revealing that tight regulation of DUX4 expression is critical for creating viable animals that develop myopathy. Here, we report such a model — the tamoxifen-inducible FSHD mouse model called TIC-DUX4. Uninduced animals are viable, born in Mendelian ratios, and overtly indistinguishable from WT animals. Induced animals display significant DUX4-dependent myopathic phenotypes at the molecular, histological, and functional levels. To demonstrate the utility of TIC-DUX4 mice for therapeutic development, we tested a gene therapy approach aimed at improving muscle strength in DUX4-expressing muscles using adeno-associated virus serotype 1.Follistatin (AAV1.Follistatin), a natural myostatin antagonist. This strategy was not designed to modulate DUX4 but could offer a mechanism to improve muscle weakness caused by DUX4-induced damage. AAV1.Follistatin significantly increased TIC-DUX4 muscle mass and strength even in the presence of DUX4 expression, suggesting that myostatin inhibition may be a promising approach to treat FSHD-associated weakness. We conclude that TIC-DUX4 mice are a relevant model to study DUX4 toxicity and, importantly, are useful in therapeutic development studies for FSHD.
Carlee R. Giesige, Lindsay M. Wallace, Kristin N. Heller, Jocelyn O. Eidahl, Nizar Y. Saad, Allison M. Fowler, Nettie K. Pyne, Mustafa Al-Kharsan, Afrooz Rashnonejad, Gholamhossein Amini Chermahini, Jacqueline S. Domire, Diana Mukweyi, Sara E. Garwick-Coppens, Susan M. Guckes, K. John McLaughlin, Kathrin Meyer, Louise R. Rodino-Klapac, Scott Q. Harper
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has few therapeutic options, and alternative approaches are urgently needed. Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) is becoming an exciting target for therapeutic adjuvants. However, STING resides inside the cell, and the intracellular delivery of CDNs, such as cGAMP, is required for the optimal activation of STING. We show that liposomal nanoparticle-delivered cGAMP (cGAMP-NP) activates STING more effectively than soluble cGAMP. These particles induce innate and adaptive host immune responses to preexisting tumors in both orthotopic and genetically engineered models of basal-like TNBC. cGAMP-NPs also reduce melanoma tumor load, with limited responsivity to anti–PD-L1. Within the tumor microenvironment, cGAMP-NPs direct both mouse and human macrophages (M), reprograming from protumorigenic M2-like phenotype toward M1-like phenotype; enhance MHC and costimulatory molecule expression; reduce M2 biomarkers; increase IFN-γ–producing T cells; augment tumor apoptosis; and increase CD4+ and CD8+ T cell infiltration. Activated T cells are required for tumor suppression, as their depletion reduces antitumor activity. Importantly, cGAMP-NPs prevent the formation of secondary tumors, and a single dose is sufficient to inhibit TNBC. These data suggest that a minimal system comprised of cGAMP-NP alone is sufficient to modulate the tumor microenvironment to effectively control PD-L1–insensitive TNBC.
Ning Cheng, Rebekah Watkins-Schulz, Robert D. Junkins, Clément N. David, Brandon M. Johnson, Stephanie A. Montgomery, Kevin J. Peine, David B. Darr, Hong Yuan, Karen P. McKinnon, Qi Liu, Lei Miao, Leaf Huang, Eric M. Bachelder, Kristy M. Ainslie, Jenny P-Y Ting
MERTK is ectopically expressed and promotes survival in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells and is thus a potential therapeutic target. Here we demonstrate both direct therapeutic effects of MERTK inhibition on leukemia cells and induction of anti-leukemia immunity via suppression of the coinhibitory PD-1 axis. A MERTK-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor, MRX-2843, mediated therapeutic anti-leukemia effects in immunocompromised mice bearing a MERTK-expressing human leukemia xenograft. In addition, inhibition of host MERTK by genetic deletion (Mertk–/– mice) or treatment with MRX-2843 significantly decreased tumor burden and prolonged survival in immune-competent mice inoculated with a MERTK-negative ALL, suggesting immune-mediated therapeutic activity. In this context, MERTK inhibition led to significant decreases in expression of the coinhibitory ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 on CD11b+ monocytes/macrophages in the leukemia microenvironment. Furthermore, although T cells do not express MERTK, inhibition of MERTK indirectly decreased PD-1 expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and decreased the incidence of splenic FOXP3+ Tregs at sites of leukemic infiltration, leading to increased T cell activation. These data demonstrate direct and immune-mediated therapeutic activities in response to MERTK inhibition in ALL models and provide validation of a translational agent targeting MERTK for modulation of tumor immunity.
Alisa B. Lee-Sherick, Kristen M. Jacobsen, Curtis J. Henry, Madeline G. Huey, Rebecca E. Parker, Lauren S. Page, Amanda A. Hill, Xiaodong Wang, Stephen V. Frye, H. Shelton Earp, Craig T. Jordan, Deborah DeRyckere, Douglas K. Graham
Immune checkpoint blockade has achieved significant therapeutic success for a subset of cancer patients; however, a large portion of cancer patients do not respond. Unresponsive tumors are characterized as being immunologically “cold,” indicating that these tumors lack tumor antigen-specific primed cytotoxic T cells. Sitravatinib is a spectrum-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor targeting TAM (TYRO3, AXL, MerTK) and split tyrosine-kinase domain–containing receptors (VEGFR and PDGFR families and KIT) plus RET and MET, targets that contribute to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. We report that sitravatinib has potent antitumor activity by targeting the tumor microenvironment, resulting in innate and adaptive immune cell changes that augment immune checkpoint blockade. These results suggest that sitravatinib has the potential to combat resistance to immune checkpoint blockade and expand the number of cancer patients that are responsive to immune therapy.
Wenting Du, Huocong Huang, Noah Sorrelle, Rolf A. Brekken
HIV eradication studies have focused on developing latency-reversing agents (LRAs). However, it is not understood how the rate of latent reservoir reduction is affected by different steps in the process of latency reversal. Furthermore, as current LRAs are host-directed, LRA treatment is likely to be intermittent to avoid host toxicities. Few careful studies of the serial effects of pulsatile LRA treatment have yet been done. This lack of clarity makes it difficult to evaluate the efficacy of candidate LRAs or predict long-term treatment outcomes. We constructed a mathematical model that describes the dynamics of latently infected cells under LRA treatment. Model analysis showed that, in addition to increasing the immune recognition and clearance of infected cells, the duration of HIV antigen expression (i.e., the period of vulnerability) plays an important role in determining the efficacy of LRAs, especially if effective clearance is achieved. Patients may benefit from pulsatile LRA exposures compared with continuous LRA exposures if the period of vulnerability is long and the clearance rate is high, both in the presence and absence of an LRA. Overall, the model framework serves as a useful tool to evaluate the efficacy and the rational design of LRAs and combination strategies.
Ruian Ke, Jessica M. Conway, David M. Margolis, Alan S. Perelson
Despite the initial promise of immunotherapy for CNS disease, multiple recent clinical trials have failed. This may be due in part to characteristically low penetration of antibodies to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and brain parenchyma, resulting in poor target engagement. We here utilized transcranial macroscopic imaging to noninvasively evaluate in vivo delivery pathways of CSF fluorescent tracers. Tracers in CSF proved to be distributed through a brain-wide network of periarterial spaces, previously denoted as the glymphatic system. CSF tracer entry was enhanced approximately 3-fold by increasing plasma osmolality without disruption of the blood-brain barrier. Further, plasma hyperosmolality overrode the inhibition of glymphatic transport that characterizes the awake state and reversed glymphatic suppression in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease. Plasma hyperosmolality enhanced the delivery of an amyloid-β (Aβ) antibody, obtaining a 5-fold increase in antibody binding to Aβ plaques. Thus, manipulation of glymphatic activity may represent a novel strategy for improving penetration of therapeutic antibodies to the CNS.
Benjamin A. Plog, Humberto Mestre, Genaro E. Olveda, Amanda M. Sweeney, H. Mark Kenney, Alexander Cove, Kosha Y. Dholakia, Jeffrey Tithof, Thomas D. Nevins, Iben Lundgaard, Ting Du, Douglas H. Kelley, Maiken Nedergaard
The identification of targetable vulnerabilities in the context of therapeutic resistance is a key challenge in cancer treatment. We detected pervasive aberrant splicing as a characteristic feature of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), irrespective of splicing factor mutation status, which was associated with sensitivity to the spliceosome modulator, E7107. Splicing modulation affected CLL survival pathways, including members of the B cell lymphoma-2 (BCL2) family of proteins, remodeling antiapoptotic dependencies of human and murine CLL cells. E7107 treatment decreased myeloid cell leukemia-1 (MCL1) dependence and increased BCL2 dependence, sensitizing primary human CLL cells and venetoclax-resistant CLL-like cells from an Eμ-TCL1–based adoptive transfer murine model to treatment with the BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax. Our data provide preclinical rationale to support the combination of venetoclax with splicing modulators to reprogram apoptotic dependencies in CLL for treating venetoclax-resistant CLL cases.
Elisa ten Hacken, Rebecca Valentin, Fara Faye D. Regis, Jing Sun, Shanye Yin, Lillian Werner, Jing Deng, Michaela Gruber, Jessica Wong, Mei Zheng, Amy L. Gill, Michael Seiler, Peter Smith, Michael Thomas, Silvia Buonamici, Emanuela M. Ghia, Ekaterina Kim, Laura Z. Rassenti, Jan A. Burger, Thomas J. Kipps, Matthew L. Meyerson, Pavan Bachireddy, Lili Wang, Robin Reed, Donna Neuberg, Ruben D. Carrasco, Angela N. Brooks, Anthony Letai, Matthew S. Davids, Catherine J. Wu
Although initially responsive to androgen signaling inhibitors (ASIs), metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) inevitably develops and is incurable. In addition to adenocarcinoma (adeno), neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC) emerges to confer ASI resistance. We have previously combined laser capture microdissection and phage antibody display library selection on human cancer specimens and identified novel internalizing antibodies binding to tumor cells residing in their tissue microenvironment. We identified the target antigen for one of these antibodies as CD46, a multifunctional protein that is best known for negatively regulating the innate immune system. CD46 is overexpressed in primary tumor tissue and CRPC (localized and metastatic; adeno and NEPC), but expressed at low levels on normal tissues except for placental trophoblasts and prostate epithelium. Abiraterone- and enzalutamide-treated mCRPC cells upregulate cell surface CD46 expression. Genomic analysis showed that the CD46 gene is gained in 45% abiraterone-resistant mCRPC patients. We conjugated a tubulin inhibitor to our macropinocytosing anti-CD46 antibody and showed that the resulting antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) potently and selectively kills both adeno and NEPC cell lines in vitro (sub-nM EC50) but not normal cells. CD46 ADC regressed and eliminated an mCRPC cell line xenograft in vivo in both subcutaneous and intrafemoral models. Exploratory toxicology studies of the CD46 ADC in non-human primates demonstrated an acceptable safety profile. Thus, CD46 is an excellent target for antibody-based therapy development, which has potential to be applicable to both adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine types of mCRPC that are resistant to current treatment.
Yang Su, Yue Liu, Christopher R. Behrens, Scott Bidlingmaier, Nam-Kyung Lee, Rahul Aggarwal, Daniel W. Sherbenou, Alma L. Burlingame, Byron C. Hann, Jeffry P. Simko, Gayatri Premasekharan, Pamela L. Paris, Marc A. Shuman, Youngho Seo, Eric J. Small, Bin Liu
Bacterial biofilm infections of implantable medical devices decrease the effectiveness of antibiotics, creating difficult-to-treat chronic infections. Prosthetic joint infections (PJI) are particularly problematic because they require prolonged antibiotic courses and reoperations to remove and replace the infected prostheses. Current models to study PJI focus on Gram-positive bacteria, but Gram-negative PJI (GN-PJI) are increasingly common and are often more difficult to treat, with worse clinical outcomes. Herein, we sought to develop a mouse model of GN-PJI to investigate the pathogenesis of these infections and identify potential therapeutic targets. An orthopedic-grade titanium implant was surgically placed in the femurs of mice, followed by infection of the knee joint with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Escherichia coli. We found that in vitro biofilm-producing activity was associated with the development of an in vivo orthopedic implant infection characterized by bacterial infection of the bone/joint tissue, biofilm formation on the implants, reactive bone changes, and inflammatory immune cell infiltrates. In addition, a bispecific antibody targeting P. aeruginosa virulence factors (PcrV and Psl exopolysaccharide) reduced the bacterial burden in vivo. Taken together, our findings provide a preclinical model of GN-PJI and suggest the therapeutic potential of targeting biofilm-associated antigens.
John M. Thompson, Robert J. Miller, Alyssa G. Ashbaugh, Carly A. Dillen, Julie E. Pickett, Yu Wang, Roger V. Ortines, Robert S. Sterling, Kevin P. Francis, Nicholas M. Bernthal, Taylor S. Cohen, Christine Tkaczyk, Li Yu, C. Kendall Stover, Antonio DiGiandomenico, Bret R. Sellman, Daniel L.J. Thorek, Lloyd S. Miller
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